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BR mapBLUE RIVER: Over a hundred years ago Samuel Sparks dreamed about creating a city. After moving upriver from Cedar Flat in 1895 he acquired a quarter section of land. Fueled by the boom associated with the discovery of gold nearby, he built a cabin and a two-story log house, plus a sawmill, store, hotel and livery stable. By 1911, he and his sons, Dexter and Felix, had surveyed and mapped out a new town tentatively to be called “Sparks City.” But on July 7th of that year, Sparks died, along with his dream.
Today each of the McKenzie River’s nine unincorporated communities have a development density that can’t exceed two-acres. A recently completed study, the “Blue River Downtown Redevelopment & Wastewater Roadmap” could point to ways that limit might change. The study lays out steps for the creation of a community waste-water system and the development of a “downtown district” in Blue River.

Off Beat Oregon History

SpectatorsBy Finn J.D. John

A century ago, the entire country was in the grip of a sort of lethal mania. You can catch references to it in old novels by nonplussed Britons like P.G. Wodehouse – a sense that the U.S., unlike England or France or Germany, was not really a country of laws. Oh, laws were fine for things like robbery and swindling and claim jumping, but when it came to crimes involving “honor,” nothing but cold steel or hot lead would suffice.
The concept was popularly known as “The Unwritten Law.” It was, essentially, a social sanction for honor killings.
The idea was that when a man caught another man making time with his wife, or moving in on his sister, not only was he justified to seek out the perpetrator and murder him, he was morally obligated to do so.

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Doodles By Barry McWilliams

Gardening Tips

WreathBy Kym Pokorny

Wreaths hung on the door with care call out a festive “Happy Holidays.”

Share that message in a special way by making your own circle of cheer with plants clipped from the garden or gathered from friends and neighbors.

“A good part of the fun of making your own wreath is going around the neighborhood, collecting plants and talking to people,” said Susan Hoffman, who has been a master gardener with Oregon State University’s Extension Service since 2012.

Be sure, she added, to ask before you clip.

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McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.